Election 2018
Trump tweets that he 'strongly' endorses Adam Laxalt for governor
Riley Snyder
Michelle Rindels
Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Republican candidate for Nevada governor, speaks during a campaign event inside the Clark County Republican Party offices in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent

President Donald Trump issued a ringing endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt on Tuesday, just seven hours before the close of the state’s primary election and a move which could have reverberations throughout the next months of campaigning.

Trump, fresh off a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he is “strongly” endorsing Laxalt, the state’s attorney general and Republican frontrunner for the gubernatorial seat being vacated by incumbent Gov. Brian Sandoval. Laxalt is expected to easily win his primary election against candidates including Treasurer Dan Schwartz.

“Adam is smart, works hard, and knows how to win. He will be a great Governor. Also, will fight hard to lower your taxes and is tough on crime!” the president wrote.

Laxalt’s campaign didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment on the timing of the tweet or Trump’s statement about taxes, although Laxalt tweeted back that he was “honored” to have the president’s support.

“Thank you, Mr. President! We’re ready to fight for our state to keep it from becoming California,” he wrote.

Laxalt has said he wants to keep taxes low and hopes to repeal the Commerce Tax, although a measure to do so would be difficult to get on the ballot and it would be virtually impossible for the idea to take flight with what’s expected to be a Democrat-controlled Legislature in 2019.

Laxalt doesn’t mention Trump as frequently on the trail as some other Nevada Republican candidates, focusing instead on how he doesn’t want Nevada to be like California and how he opposes sanctuary cities. But he did write an op-ed strongly condemning Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race, and he introduced Trump at a rally.

Although other Republicans on the 2016 ballot including former Reps. Joe Heck and Cresent Hardy tried to distance themselves from Trump following the publication of Access Hollywood tapes showing the future president make lewd comments about women, Laxalt stood by the nominee. He and Trump’s Nevada campaign chair, Rep. Mark Amodei, issued a joint statement after the publication of the tapes calling Trump “not perfect” but saying they would support the party’s nominee.

Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, was initially scheduled to speak at Laxalt’s annual “Basque Fry” campaign event last year, but backed out after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas.

Laxalt’s biggest challenge is expected to come after Tuesday, when he’ll face the winner of a bitter Democratic gubernatorial primary between Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak. He’s said on the trail that $50 million has been pledged against him, which would make the contest far more expensive than any other governor’s race in Nevada history.

It’s not the first time Trump has stepped into Nevada politics this cycle. His tweet suggesting Danny Tarkanian would be better in Congress prompted the frequent candidate to abandon a contentious primary with Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller and try for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District — a race where he’s the favorite.

 Updated at 1:27 p.m.  on June 12, 2018 to add tweet from Laxalt.
Disclosure: Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.
INDY FAST FACTS Danny Tarkanian Job: Businessman Party: Republican In current office: None Birthdate: Dec. 18, 1961 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A.) University of San Diego (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total Donations: $3,443,619 (8/18/04-5/23/18) Top Donors: Danny Tarkanian $528,440 Stations Casino $74,550 Las Vegas Sands Corp $38,900 Domain.com $26,600 Maloof family $18,000
INDY FAST FACTS Mark Amodei Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: June 12, 1958 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) University of Pacific (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada Republican Party chairman (2010-2011) State senator, Capital District (1998-2010) Assemblyman (1996-1999) Total donations: $3,720,285 (2009-2018) Top donors: Barrick Gold $43,000 Las Vegas Sands $42,100 Sierra Nevada Corp $39,000 American Society of Anesthesiologists $39,000 National Association of Home Builders $37,000 Last Report: 5/23/18 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Steve Sisolak Job: Clark County commission chairman Party: Democrat In current office: 2009-present Commission chairman since 2013 Birthdate: December 26, 1953 Education: University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee (B.S.) University of Nevada, Las Vegas (M.B.A.) Other public offices held: Nevada System of Higher Education Regent (1999-2009) Total donations: $9,643,393 (1/12/11-5/31/18) Top donors: MGM Resorts International $174,359 Station Casinos/Zuffa: $90,000 Las Vegas Sands $75,000 Fidelity National $61,600 Marnell Companies LLC $55,000
INDY FAST FACTS Dan Schwartz Job: State treasurer Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: July 28, 1950 Education: Princeton University (B.A.) Columbia University (M.B.A.) Boston University (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $1,297,546 (9/16/13-5/30/18) Top donors: Dan Schwartz $1,000,353 Pritzker (Anthony, Karen, Jenny) $20,603 Schwartz (Stephen, Yanan, Dana) $15,000
INDY FAST FACTS Chris Giunchigliani Job: Clark County Commissioner Party: Democrat In current office: 2007-present Birthdate: November 27, 1954 Education: Avila College (B.A.) University of Nevada, Las Vegas (M.A.) Other public offices held: State Assemblywoman, District 9 (1991-2006) Total donations: $2,895,818 (5/08/13-6/7/18) Top donors: Giunchigliani (Chris, Jeanne, JM, Larry, Myrna, Ellen): $65,000 MGM Resorts International $43,165 Caesars Entertainment $35,000 Buck and Aurora Wong $30,000 South Point Hotel & Casino/F&M Advertising $30,000
INDY FAST FACTS Dean Heller Job: U.S. Senator Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: May 10, 1960 Education: University of Southern California (B.A.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada's 2nd Congressional District (2007-2011) Nevada Secretary of State (1995-2007) State Assemblyman (1990-1994) Total donations: $21,463,574 (2005-2018) Top donors: Station Casinos $117,900 Votesane PAC $92,000 MGM Resorts International $74,500 Blackstone Group $48,400 Capital Group $38,800 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Adam Laxalt Job: Nevada State Attorney General Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: August 31, 1978 Education: Georgetown University (B.A.) Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $8,262,050 (1/08/14 - 6/07/18) Top donors: Station Casinos/Zuffa/Fertitta $208,500 Las Vegas Sands $75,000 Marnell Properties LLC $42,500 Starpoint Resort Group/Partners $40,000 MGM Resorts $35,000
INDY FAST FACTS Brian Sandoval Job: Nevada Governor Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: August 5, 1963 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Ohio State University (J.D.) Other public offices held: U.S. District Court Judge (2005-2009) Nevada State Attorney General (2003-2005) Nevada Gaming Commission Chair (1999-2001) Nevada Gaming Commission Member (1998-2001) State Assemblyman, District 25 (1994-1998) Total donations: $4,984,248 (1/07/11 - 7/5/17) Top donors: Caesars Entertainment $245,000 Station Casinos $158,072 MGM Resorts International $160,000 Wynn Resorts $80,000 Marnell Properties LLC $70,000
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